A 12 PUBS of Christmas in Dunmanway ended up with seven local women appearing in court to face charges of assault, counter assault and trespassing, in three separate incidents, in what was described by Judge James McNulty as a ‘funny old case.’
At a sitting of Clonakilty District Court this week, Judge McNulty told the six defendants – one of them did not appear in court – that the court is used to seeing ‘aggressive, intemperate, drunk males’ but that this was a first for seven women to face these charges.
‘There was a television series before called Men Behaving Badly but this is Women Behaving Badly. This case also reminds me of De Valera’s vision of “comely maidens” and these aren’t comely maidens. Clearly, we have moved on,’ said Judge McNulty.
Six defendants appeared in court and they were represented by five different solicitors. The defendants, all from Dunmanway, were Nisha Hayden of Nedineagh; Pamela Murray of Market Sq; Gemma Fuller of Main St; Emma Carroll of 7 Tonafora, Bantry Rd; Holly O’Dwyer of Chapel St; Mary Russell of Chapel St, and absent from court was Katie O’Donovan of Market Sq, who is currently in Australia.
Supt Ger O’Mahony told the court that on December 13th 2015 Holly O’Dwyer alleged she was assaulted by Nisha Hayden in Gatsby’s nightclub in Dunmanway, when she got a punch in the mouth.
Following the assault, Holly went home and called to Dunmanway garda station to report the assault, but there was no-one there. Ms O’Dwyer then told her mother Mary Russell, what had happened, and they went to the garda station again to report the incident, but again there was no-one there.
While driving near the nightclub, Ms Russell saw Ms Hayden outside Gatsby’s and confronted her about the assault on her daughter, which she denied.
Supt O’Mahony added that Nisha Hayden was then assaulted by Holly O’Dwyer on the street while Mary Russell tried to separate them as they pulled each other’s hair on the ground.
The court was then told that when Ms Hayden told her friends about the assault on her, four of them – Katie O’Donovan, Pamela Murray, Gemma Fuller and Emma Carroll – got a lift to Mary Russell’s house on Chapel St from Megan O’Flynn, as they wanted to find out why Ms Hayden was assaulted.
What followed were allegations of assault and counter assault, as well as trespassing, as a fracas took place inside and outside the home of Mary Russell, until parties on both sides called the gardaí.
Judge McNulty convicted Nisha Hayden of the assault on Holly O’Dwyer in Gatsby’s nightclub, having heard the evidence and watched CCTV footage, but he cleared her of the assault on Ms O’Dwyer in Market Sq. However, Judge McNulty said he was satisfied that Ms O’Dwyer did assault Ms Hayden in Market Sq and she was found guilty on that charge. Judge McNulty also said the cases of assault and trespassing regarding the five other defendants were proven by the prosecution.
Judge McNulty said this case was ‘not a thing of nothing’ as it required full prosecution with assaults on the streets, blood spilled, and the invasion of the home of two citizens.
The court was told that all, bar one of the defendants, have no previous convictions, with only Katie O’Donovan recording convictions for road traffic offences.
Solicitor Jim Brooks, who represented Katie O’Donovan said all these women were local, and interlinked with friendship and neighbourliness, and ‘that it was a tragedy to see them all in court.’
Judge McNulty said the court would try an ‘innovative approach’ and deal with this case differently.
Judge McNulty said Gemma Fuller and Emma Carroll were not the protagonists or ringleaders on the night, and invited each of them to donate €500 to the West Cork Women Against Violence project and adjourned their cases until December 19th for proof of payment.
Judge McNulty said the other five defendants’ cases were more serious and, as well as ordering them to pay €500 each to the West Cork Women Against Violence project, he also required them to come back on December 19th with a plan outlining their intentions to carry out voluntary work in Dunmanway.
‘I’d be slow to call them Ireland’s finest as they haven’t brought honour or distinction on the town of Dunmanway,’ added Judge McNulty.